Art Pottery, Politics and Food
Friday, July 01, 2005
Rummy Mistoffelees
With blogger still mysteriously buggy, visit Easy With Eyes Closed for the image to this post.

You ought to know Mr. Mistoffelees!
The Original Conjuring Cat--
(There can be no doubt about that).
Please listen to me and don't scoff.
All his Inventions are off his own bat.
There's no such Cat in the metropolis;
He holds all the patent monopolies
For performing suprising illusions
And creating eccentric confusions.
At prestidigitation
And at legerdemain
He'll defy examination
And deceive you again
.The greatest magicians have something to learn
From Mr. Mistoffelees' Conjuring Turn.
--T.S. Eliot
Tuesday, June 28, 2005
Heart & Pol

A flurry of non-corporate media speculation on the current condition of Vice President Cheney’s heart was kicked off last Friday by Arianna Huffington’s fortuitous presence at the Vail Valley Medical Center in Colorado.
Huffington, in Vail for a speaking engagement, noticed the VP’s Gulfstream upon landing at the Vail airport and, after a witness told her he “had seen the VP’s motorcade speed towards the local hospital”, the intrepid Arianna beat feet to the Medical Center where “we encountered a high level of security -- and a lot of zipped lips”.
Luckily, one loose-lipped Medical Center staffer told Arianna, “He’s [Cheney] no longer here”.
Corporate press disinformation countering Huffington’s eyewitness reporting had Cheney visiting an old doctor friend “to evaluate an old football injury to his knee”.
Without Arianna’s on-the-spot report, anyone even casually observing the Vice President’s recent television appearances had to notice Cheney’s grayer than normal pallor and the tiredness he unknowingly exhibited as he aided the Rove smear and attempted Iraq insurgency spin.
Huffington’s report, this morning, received a confirmation within the hallowed, though unlikely, journalistic confines of Lloyd Grove’s New York Daily News gossip column Lowdown:

A well-connected Lowdown spy told me that Cheney - whose knees were hurting from climbing stairs - received an EKG after medical personnel noted that his breathing was labored…The spy told me hospital records indicated that the veep, surrounded by heavy security, was logged in as "Dr. Hoffman" (the name of his physician in Washington) and stayed for 2 hours and 41 minutes.

This White House, addicted to spin like some Oxy-Contin-crazed radio personality, just cannot seem to speak truth.
The American people deserve to know the cardiac health status of the man one heartbeat away from the Presidency.

Image at Easy With Eyes Closed.
Monday, June 27, 2005
A Steamy SciFi Interlude

With Blogger still buggy and loading a large empty background field under the date of the current day’s post along with prohibiting images on my once image-capable blog, allow me to briefly mention my ongoing love affair with certain kinds of Japanese anime.
In this space I’ve previously mentioned enjoying Mamoru Oshii’s terrific Ghost in the Shell series but I don’t think I’ve mentioned Hayao Miyazaki’s superb children’s films or Katsuhiro Otomo’s legendary Akira.
All these films, highly recommended by yours truly for their appropriate age group, are easily Googled and are on sale online and in better media stores.
I’ve been recently counting the days until the July 27th DVD release of Otomo’s latest anime triumph Steamboy.
A fan and reader of science fiction since the blushing days of my youth, I was and remain an admirer of William Gibson and the Cyberpunk sci-fi subgenre he created with the 1985 publication of the award-winning Neuromancer.
In 1990 in London and 1991 in New York, Gibson and fellow sci-fi novelist Bruce Sterling published The Difference Engine, a book credited with inspiring a cyberpunk subgenre called Steampunk, speculative science fiction set in the mid to late 19th century.
Steampunk has popular culture antecedents in Walt Disney’s 1954 production of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and the 1960’s American television series The Wild, Wild West and celebrates Victorian era steam technology.
Without getting lost in the hairy curlicues of nuance within these subsets of subsets, Otomo’s Steamboy, from what I’ve gathered since its 2003 Japanese premiere, will rock the American geek community down to their tongue-plugs and flip-flops.
I had the great good fortune to find and impulse-purchase the soundtrack to Steamboy at a local brick and mortar media store at a tremendous savings from the online Japanese import asking price of nearly $40.
I paid $13.99!
The sound track is a breath-taking orchestral romp composed by a relative newcomer with the most unJapanese name of Steve Jablonsky.
The 17 cuts and highly enjoyable 60:49 running time of the Steamboy soundtrack has provided a thrilling score to today’s normally dull interstate drivetime and I look forward to Jablonsky’s future efforts.
Various video trailers to Steamboy can be found via this link, however, don’t be put off by the Japanese only 6-minute trailer at the bottom of the list.
This lengthy Windows Media clip, no matter the language barrier, gives the best flavor of the film’s gorgeous soundtrack and dazzling illustration.
If Otomo’s Steamboy is half as good as Jablonsky’s soundtrack, I’m going to be one extremely happy late July camper!

Steamboy image at Easy With Eyes Closed
Sunday, June 26, 2005
Terror Therapy?

Well, what do you know?
The Sunday Times of London is reporting, from “Iraqi sources”:

After weeks of delicate negotiation…a small group of insurgent commanders apparently came face to face with four American officials seeking to establish a dialogue.

The story describes Washington as “gingerly probing for ways of defusing home-grown Iraqi opposition and of isolating the foreign Islamic militants.”
The Times article generally identified the American negotiators with this paragraph:

The Iraqi sources, who have proved reliable in the past, said the American team included senior military and intelligence officers, a civilian staffer from Congress and a representative of the US embassy in Baghdad.

The article identified an American who “introduced himself as ‘a representative of the Pentagon’ and declared himself ready to…listen to ‘demands and grievances’” and that “any discussion would be relayed to his superiors in Washington.”
Gosh, does steely-eyed Presidential Advisor and wedge driver Karl Rove realize that he’s looking supremely foolish as representatives of his President are “gingerly probing” for ways to offer “therapy and understanding” to people his President describes as, ahem, “terrorists” ?
Is Karl feeling “moderation and restraint”, now, as he surely must be typing up his apology to the Democratic Party?
While I am totally supportive of any measures that reduce the risks to our troops, this morning’s Times of London story coupled with Rove’s increasingly foolish statements from last Wednesday, to me, further indicates a chaotic administration beset with the internal divisions that naturally flow from a dilettante President.

The image for this post can be found at Easy With Eyes Closed.

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